Installing larger batteries in electric vehicles can increase range, but a new study suggests it can also could lead to a significant increase in particulate emissions tires.
The study was carried out by Emissions Analytics, an independent emissions testing company based in the UK. This company started to sound the alarm in 2020, when it published a study showing that particulate emissions from tire wear were 1,000 times worse than those from the tailpipe.
This study was designed to quantify the worst tire emissions under legal driving conditions. The latest study builds on a more detailed analysis done so far.covering a wider range of driving conditions.
Emissions Analytics also carried out chemical analysis of hundreds of new tiresand has even collaborated with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory to quantify uncertainties in chemical composition.
Emissions Analytics concludes that, under normal driving conditions, particulate emissions from tire wear are 1,850 times greater than particulate emissions from tailpipes.
The basic trends driving this relationship are: exhaust particulate emissions are much lower in new cars and tire wear emissions increase with vehicle mass and aggressive driving style.
That doesn’t bode well for bulkier EV batteries, which add a significant amount of weight. Half a ton of battery weight can lead to 400 times higher tire emissions than real-world tailpipe emissions, all things being equal, concludes Emissions Analytics.
Emissions Analytics noted that tailpipe emissions hang in the air for some time, negatively affecting air quality, while tire emissions tend to go straight to the ground and into the water.
It also concluded that about 11% of the mass of tire emissions have a diameter of less than 2.5 microns. This is the threshold for airborne particles that can cause respiratory problems.
Tailpipe emissions remain a major issue, especially when it comes to climate change. But as new cars become more efficient and electric vehicles begin to make up a larger part of the fleet, the environmental impact of tire emissions will need to be considered.
In addition to particulates, a 2021 study found that tires contribute significantly to microplastic pollution.
Going through Gain Traction, Lose Tread Pollution From Tire Wear Is Now 1,850 Times Worse Than Exhaust Emissions — Emissions Analytics